Stringer: Bus Lane Blocking Rampant, NYPD Nowhere to Be Found

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is calling for a crackdown on bus lane-blocking drivers after a survey conducted by his office found that offending motorists have little chance of receiving a ticket.

34thst_truck.jpgA truck driver enjoys the convenience of the 34th Street SBS lane. Photo: Brad Aaron

Stringer staffers observed more than 350 drivers parked in bus lanes at six Midtown intersections during the course of around 40 hours. At the worst intersection, 42nd Street and Madison Avenue, 40 buses were blocked every hour during evening rush; at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, an average of 19 buses were blocked per hour. Some drivers remained in the lanes for 15 minutes or more. The biggest offenders were taxis, limos and livery cabs, followed closely by private cars. Delivery trucks were third, though they accounted for most of the longest blockages.

"Tens of thousands of bus passengers are delayed by cars and trucks parked in what should be reserved lanes," said Stringer. "Yet over more than forty hours of observation by my staff, not one driver parked in a bus lane was issued a summons, no matter how long he sat there. What’s the point of having these regulations if they are never enforced?"

Stringer recommended several measures to keep bus lanes clear, including passage of a bill sponsored by Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh that would allow enforcement cameras not only for BRT routes, but all bus lanes. Stringer is also calling on NYPD and DOT to take action through driver education campaigns, improved enforcement and expansion of plans for physically separated lanes beyond Select Bus Service lines.

Responding to the report, NYPD basically confirmed its findings. The department told NY1 that officers have issued "more than 1,700" summonses to bus lane violators so far this year. A back-of-envelope calculation pegs that at about eight summonses per day — roughly the average number of violations noted by Stringer staffers every hour.

Curiously, the study makes no mention of police vehicles as bus lane blockers.

  • Bus passengers outnumber inconsiderate jerks in individual vehicles. One jerk in a private vehicle can delay 20, 30, or more individuals on a bus.

    By failing to keep bus lanes clear, NYPD exhibits an attitude that as people, bus riders are less impotant than people in individual vehicles.

    Time for that @#$% to CHANGE.

  • In the alternate universe of The Post, it will be reported what an outrage it is that 1700 tickets have been issued to poor drivers just hopping out of their cars for a minute, just to fatten the city’s coffers. Oh, and MTA evil!!11!!!

  • To clarify and add something:
    I meant bus passengers outnumber jerks blocking bus lanes with their individual vehicles.

    I’m emailing the MTA to ask if there’s any rule against handing out flyers on board their buses, encouraging passengers to contact City officials to demand that bus-only lanes are kept clear when bus-only hours are in effect.

  • They shouldn’t just paint the lanes a different color, they should put up barriers plain and simple. White vinyl poles similar to what they use (and should use more often) for bike lanes will keep people in the right place.

  • I \v/ NY

    bus lanes are almost worthless unless they have something between them and the travel lanes… a barrier, median, street trees, curb, poles, etc.

  • I’m not sure the bus lanes are “almost worthless” without separation. In my (individual) experience, the 34th Street crosstown buses were slower than walking before the lanes were added, and are faster than walking now (which is the deciding factor in my choice to use them).

    They are not nearly as fast as they should be (especially in the afternoon), but I would be interested in some hard numbers about whether speed has improved and to what extent.

  • Josh

    “Curiously, the study makes no mention of police vehicles as bus lane blockers.”

    I can’t really blame Stringer, if he expects to actually get something done. The NYPD is just realistically more likely to act on this if they aren’t being simultaneously called out on it.

  • johnq

    That looks to me like an MTA service truck. Notice the blue stripe and yellow lights on top of the cab. It also looks like the blue MTA logo on the door. Though I could be wrong.

  • Bjorn

    here is an idea, change the law to allow anyone to swear out a parking ticket for blocking a lane of traffic. Create a form to do it with and the problem will solve itself pretty fast.

  • Curbs! I’ve really lost my faith in paint. How about some nice ones with different paving int he bus areas? None of those vinyl/pvc things. They suck. They’re ugly and they look like crap pretty much instantly. If DOT and the MTA are really serious about improving bus travel times they’re going to have to face facts and create some physical barriers.

  • NYPD is too busy handing out 1.2 million summonses for moving violations to hand out any for non-moving violations.

  • Ron Eldridge

    Regarding the quantity of tickets: the city of new york has issued a high quantity of tickets at bus stops. Very high. Not 1,700 or 17,000. Between ticket agents and NYPD the total tickets this year will be more than 11 million. Maybe 12 million and a large percentage are issued at bus stops, bus lanes, bus routes, etc.

    NOW, BUS STOPS must be kept clear. No doubt about that. But there is a high demand for curb space. And the proper and fair thing to do is to SHARE THE SPACE. If a bus comes every 30 minutes……why should no one else be able to temporarily park their truck during the other 30 minutes? This is not a Fire Hydrant guys!